A project to bury intrusive, low voltage, power lines which cross the parkland at the National Trusts’ Sheffield Park Garden estate has been given the go ahead by the committee responsible for overseeing allocation of the Ofgem allowance for enhancing beauty spots in AONBs and National Parks.
Sheffield Park is a well-loved and visited area of the High Weald and the power line is visible from public viewpoints adjacent to the Sheffield Park Garden car park, including a popular picnic spot, and from the network of footpaths which cross the parkland, in particular the path that leads to the neighbouring Bluebell Steam Railway.
The project builds on the success of an ongoing partnership between electricity operator UK Power Networks (who own the lines), Natural England and representatives of AONB and National Parks to enhance the appearance of some of Britain’s most important landscapes. Between 2010 and 2015, UK Power Networks invested £6.6million in projects to replace 77km of low voltage overhead lines with underground cables in the South East of England. Two projects have already been funded in the High Weald: one near Jack Fuller's follies at Brightling in East Sussex and one at Little Scotney Farm near Finchcocks in Kent. The Partnership are keen to identify another 3-5 projects suitable for the funding.
“We are delighted with this ongoing collaboration between UK Power Networks and protected landscape partnerships across England and Wales. The High Weald is an outstanding medieval landscape, facing significant development pressure, and we welcome the contribution this Scheme makes to enhancing its beauty spots” says Sally Marsh, AONB Co-Director.
Work on delivering the project, led by UK Power Networks, is now underway with line removal anticipated in 2017.